Remove stains on paving stones and concrete paving - this is how it works

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paving stone

If you have never tried it, cleaning paving stones and concrete paving is the simplest thing in the world. After all, it's stone, what should happen to that - but concrete is a complex composite material that can suffer from harsh cleaning agents. If you study the material for a while, you can remove (almost) every stain without leaving any marks on the concrete pavement:

Concrete - only almost as insensitive as stone

Concrete is hard as stone, but it's still a man-made composite material made up of amazingly many different components:
The binding agent is cement - it ensures that the concrete components "stick together" when mixed (similar to egg and the "flour glue" gluten cake dough), and it ensures that this mixture becomes rock hard. Cement basically consists of limestone and clay, mostly quartz sand and iron rock; When grinding after sintering, depending on the type of cement ash, gypsum, sand and limestone are added. In order for concrete to become concrete, aggregates, water and various aggregates are added to give certain properties to the concrete.
Therefore concrete pavement is not easy to clean; therefore, if in doubt, you should always first clean with water before using strong detergents.
Tip: To seal paving stones, products like stone coating, stone impregnation, stone sealing, etc. are offered, which can contain all sorts of chemical compounds. It is similar for concrete paving stones that are advertised with special properties; Here, the chemical compounds are added to the concrete during mixing. As a rule, such paving stones can also be cleaned with the gentle and environmentally friendly methods presented below; but no one can guarantee that the sealant or a special concrete additive will not react with cleaning agents that also contain chemical compounds in some concentration. Therefore, you should always pay close attention to the cleaning instructions of the manufacturer or use only the means specified there, if the stains can not be easily removed with water.

Remove stains on clean paving stones

White spots

As the white stains disappear as they scrub or carve, minerals crystallize from the concrete mass; This is neither unusual nor a defect in freshly produced concrete blocks. When moisture rises from the inside of the concrete mass, it takes individual mineral molecules to the rock surface, which the cement binder "did not catch". At some point, all "loners" have reached the surface, the efflorescence disappears over time due to the weather. What is normal does not actually have to be cleaned up; only if the efflorescence persists for months, would have to be clarified by experts, whether the concrete mix was wrong.
If you do not want to wait for the concrete to develop its final structure, you can tackle the efflorescence with water and cement scum remover, emphasizing water. Do not be tempted to follow the frequent recommendations for using an acidic cleaner.
If the white spots appear on the garage floor, road salt may have been dragged into the garage in winter. This disappears by wiping with plenty of water and re-cleaning with a low-acid stone-base cleaner.

Bright spots

Light stains are usually caused by lichens that colonize the paving stones. Actually a reason to enjoy, because the lichens are an indicator of clean air. If you can not live with this natural phenomenon, you have a little program in front of you, because it is a long-lasting alga fungus communities that persistently penetrate the porous concrete block and difficult to remove.
You can scrub the organisms from the surface of the paving stones or use a high-pressure cleaner, but this removes only the visible parts of the lichen, the spores remain in the stone and provide for offspring. The rough treatment often makes the surface a bit rougher, so that the lichens and dirt can settle better... If you tackle the lichens with fungicides, you would have to saturate the whole stone with the poison; The paving stones in this case should not be in places that are often committed by humans or other living things. To remove the lichens with acid, see 1. above. If you want to get rid of lichen, you would also have to empty the joints, treat them and later fill them with an impermeable material, which could turn the pavement into a sealed surface for sewage charges.
(Mellerud-Ratgeber) subject to the surface of "enormous mechanical reworking" (Mellerud Guide) should have good effect against lichens alone: ​​Vorzusssen plaster surface with water, saltpeter remover (1 part cleaner, 5 parts water), Leave to work for 5-10 minutes, machine the surface vigorously with the scrubber and rinse with plenty of water. Large areas should be processed by several people or in sections, the concrete paving surface should first be checked for product compatibility in an inconspicuous place.

grease stains

Grease stains "happen" much more often on concrete floors in the house or in domestic side rooms (garage with screed floor), as on the paving stones in the garden area; they are therefore dealt with in more detail in the article "Stone cleaner for walls, walls and stairs - Properly cleaning concrete".

Reddish spots

Orange to reddish patches come from rusty garden equipment or from iron fertilizer. Both should be removed well with rust remover, which is watered with water. But beware, most rust removers contain acid and should only be used for a short time and limited to small areas (if necessary check in an inconspicuous area beforehand).

paving stone

The alternative for larger areas would be bleaching sodium hydrogen sulphite sold at the drugstore. But is a lovely substance, which only used in 20% solution, previously tested in invisible place and immediately with water should be scrubbed.

Dark spots

can be caused by mold, which can disappear through mold killers plus mechanical rework. Test again on a rock not in the field of vision, then spray surface with mold killer, let it work for one hour, work hard with a scrubber and lots of water.
Mold stains on paving stones in the middle of the garden could also be tackled with fungicidal plant broths. B. act strongly against mold.

Other colorful spots

It looks problematic with all the stains that bring strong and dark color, from elderberry to spilled red wine. Rather, you should look at those on the concrete pavement, you should always look for how to treat such stains on sensitive clothing, the appropriate cleaning will not harm the pavement.

Old stains on paving stones

- complete cleaning plus stain removal -
When it comes to paving stones that are in the entrance area or can be seen in the garden from the sidewalk, this concrete pavement is usually cleaned at regular intervals anyway. If it somehow fits, you should remove old, possibly difficult spots in the context of this regular cleaning; this pretty much improves the chances that the paving stones will shine like new after cleaning.
The following procedure is recommended:

Roughly remove old stain

If it is old stains that bring a certain mass, you should first remove the main part of this mass. Often this is best done by horizontal cutting with a sharp knife, sometimes a wire brush helps, sometimes soft brush and dustpan enough.
If now only a light, not very colored dirt film can be seen, it continues with 2nd. If very bright, very dark or otherwise brightly colored surface comes to light, the specifically tailored to the spot is treated, as just described.

Rough cleaning

First, you should collect everything from the pavement, which is on it, but should not be there permanently. Sounds exaggerated, but really worth it - if you clean the pavement surface, a surface that has not been cleaned up for months would look different from the rest of the pavement when it "comes back to light".
Then the stones are freed of coarse sand, etc. Wait for dry weather and sweep the paving stones first thoroughly. If possible, first with a coarse broom and then again with a finer broom.
If moss, tufts of grass and weeds are to be taken out of the cracks, this should be done next: go through the cracks with a joint scraper; if the useful tool is not yet available in the household, a strong brush can serve as a substitute, but only for vegetation with rather finer roots. If stronger plants "claw" into the joints, it may be helpful to use a hand rake, a strong screwdriver, an old knife (which is really not needed in the kitchen)... but it's worth getting a scraper in the hardware store, he said Does not cost the world and the small check mark on the top makes the work noticeably easier. Evenly distributed, only loosely rooted moss can sometimes be "blown away" quite well with the high-pressure cleaner, which then cleans half of the stone with it.

paving stone

There are chemical weed killers that do this job for you, but their use in home and garden is usually not allowed and also not really recommended: What kills stubborn weeds may kill even the plants in the bed and is mostly for the human user anything but healthy.

Clean the surface of the paving stones

Once you have tackled the fouling with the high-pressure cleaner, you only need to apply it in the middle of the plaster. Here it is crucial for uniform cleaning that you work through in one go. If you work on a part and a week on the rest, you will often see it later.Even if it's faster: Do not approach very close, because then roughen the paving stones, which usually leads to a "beautiful algae surface"... So: high-pressure cleaner yes, but with so much feeling that he solves everything sitting on the stones and the stones even at rest or completely leaves. This is not nearly as impossible as it sounds, you just have to concentrate a bit at the beginning until you have the strength of the jet of water in your senses.
You can also remove the weather dirt manually, with soda solution as a support. Dissolve about 10 tablespoons of soda (washing soda, for example, in the green Holste 500g bag) per 10-liter bucket of lukewarm water and distribute on the surface of the paving stones. It is not worthwhile to prepare the soda solution with boiling water. That would have only sense in stones anyway, which are heated by the sun, but then would not be recommended, because the hot solution is significantly more aggressive. If you boil the milder food soda (known as caustic soda) in a pan with burnt crust and then leave it for a few hours, then you know what is meant. If you have food soda in the house, you can use it as a substitute for washing soda; as mentioned, milder, but adequate for moderately soiled areas.
Depending on the size of the area, the distribution works better with a laundry syringe or a watering can. From washing soda should not get too much in the adjacent beds, it sets the pH down vigorously. If you use soda, you can "squirt" as you like, your plants can drink as well as you. If the liquid is distributed, it may act until it is just on drying. If necessary, then add a light spray mist from the garden hose over it; If the soda mixture has been working for a few hours, you may start scrubbing. Quite normal old-fashioned scrubber, without much force to walk casually across the surface.

Remove remaining stains

Now it's up to the spots, which should have faded in the course of basic cleaning already a good deal. What is left you can now admire "in full splendor" after exposing the environment. Mostly, you can now see much better what it is.
Garden-like remains such as remains of bird droppings and dried apples, etc. can now be removed with hot water, soaking and brush; all other stains are treated as described at the beginning of the article. The longer a stain was allowed to dry, the sooner you have to expect that you will have to wear it patiently, layer by layer.

Stains on paving stones in the natural garden

are basically explained above, but a natural garden should not look so super neat; Flashing paving stones, cleaned down to the cracks, would almost seem like foreign bodies. Here you can tackle the cleaning a lot more relaxed - once with the broom (with solid bristles) once over the area, does not hurt even in the more natural garden, and you realize whether "your spot has a few buddy", Whether this is the case or not, next the spot is identified and targeted, then, as always, with water thoroughly and thoroughly cleaned, so that the surface remains uniform.
Tip: Paving stones can become very old and still look good, but they only work if they have never been cleaned too thoroughly. If you have purchased an old house, the chances are not good that the concrete has always been cleaned gently: what was first introduced to the market from the middle of the last century on chemical cleaning agents was often tried out. If you are dealing with cobblestones that have become porous through a variety of chemicals, you should not be under the illusion of brushing these stones to a completely uniform appearance. If you can live badly with the traces of the years, you should spend more time worrying about which easy-care floor covering you replace the old plaster (sandstone cobblestones, for example, is eco, organic, laid by hand and not difficult to maintain) than to try out every cleanser in the world.

Prevent stains on concrete paving

The best prevention against stains on concrete paving is not necessarily the sealant. First, you need to be very specific about how to clean the seal (and whether it can be cleaned well, preferably with evidence of a previously sealed and used area). Secondly, sealing only makes sense if the joints are permanently filled because otherwise liquids that cause stains can penetrate the stone from the side. Thirdly, this area often makes itself felt on the wastewater bill because you have to pay fees for sealed areas.
The best way to prevent stains is (actually) much easier: always clean stains immediately before they can move into the stone.Certainly easier said than done, but if you know that it is not a good idea to let colored liquids seep into concrete, too: create a supply of old towels in an easily accessible place, then you can do it even with the offspring in his arms, to grab one, two towels and drop to the place with the just dropped, deep red tea... if baby then sleeps, can be wiped with warm water, and already no permanent stain remains.

Video Board: How to clean paving slabs with bleach and water.

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